The critically acclaimed BBC series War and Peace is notable not only for its superb production values, performances and cinematic sweep but also for casting age appropriate actresses.
In particular, 56-year-old Greta Scacchi who plays the neurotic Rostov family matriarch.
Scacchi, once a Hollywood sex symbol, is rarely seen on screen these days. No doubt her willingness to age naturally has deterred casting directors.
She is a late middle-aged woman who looks nothing like most late middle-aged actresses.
Yet so accustomed are we to botoxed, wrinkle-free on-screen women that it’s Scacchi who at first appears abnormal.
Recently, a magazine cover featured the 70-year-old Helen Mirren. The black and white images, Photoshopped to show flawless, unlined skin, accompanied Mirren’s preposterous assertion that she is growing old naturally.
Is our culture so inept at spotting falsehoods that we actually believe her?
The journalist claims that Mirren is still ‘hot’.
Yet Scacchi, 14 years her junior, looks like a grandmother.
The recent uproar over Carrie Fisher’s face demonstrates our antipathy to older actresses.
We want them to look attractive yet condemn any sign of plastic surgery that keeps them looking young.
All the more kudos to Greta Scacchi for being honest and brave enough to show how a middle-aged woman really looks on screen.